- It always helps to look approachable and be charming. Over time, it will get easier for you to start a conversation with a stranger.
- Start small. Don’t sign up for 12 meetings in one month. A sustained effort over the long run is better than making a one-time big effort and then burning out. Remember that networking requires maintenance, so don’t bite off more than you can chew.
- Use every Internet tool at your disposal to build your social network in real life. Instant messaging applications, for instance, are sometimes better than phone calls. Internet is very useful to meet and keep contact with a very large amount of people worldwide.
- You can make great contacts with politicians and their aides by volunteering in an election or being involved with their party outside of election time.
- Can’t find a local club or group that’s related to your interests or career? Start one!
- Watch out for parasites – people who’ll pump you for favors and never try to help you in return. When you find one attached to you (and if you’re generous, you will) turn them down as politely as you can: “No, I’m sorry, I can’t do that tomorrow. I’ve got plans.” If they try to make you feel guilty, feign an excuse to get out of the conversation and make yourself scarce to them. Don’t lose your temper or act cold because that’ll give them something negative to say about you when they’re talking to others, like “Oh, yes I know James, he once called me a leech…” – don’t let this happen to you.